Performance Analysis of Automotive SAR with Radar Based Motion Estimation

Oded Bialer, Tom Tirer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Automotive synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can achieve a significant angular resolution enhancement for detecting static objects, which is essential for automated driving. Obtaining high-resolution SAR images requires precise ego vehicle velocity estimation. A small velocity estimation error can result in a focused SAR image with objects at offset angles. In this paper, we consider an automotive SAR system that produces SAR images of static objects based on ego vehicle velocity estimation from the radar return signal without the overhead in complexity and cost of using an auxiliary global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and inertial measurement unit (IMU). We derive a novel analytical approximation for the automotive SAR angle estimation error variance when the radar estimates the velocity. The developed analytical analysis closely predicts the actual SAR angle estimation variance. It provides insights into the effects of the radar parameters and the environmental condition on the automotive SAR angle estimation error. We evaluate via the analytical analysis and simulation tests the radar settings and environmental conditions in which the automotive SAR attains a significant performance gain over the angular resolution of the short aperture physical antenna array. We show that, perhaps surprisingly, when the velocity is estimated by the radar, the performance advantage of automotive SAR is realized only in limited conditions. Hence since its implementation comes with an increase in computation and system complexity as well as an increase in the detection delay, it should be used carefully and selectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11332-11345
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Automotive radar
  • SAR performance analysis
  • automotive SAR
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)


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